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Cedar Rapids Today

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Iowa residents can use 211 to get COVID-19 information


By Kasey Schefflin-Emrich | Mar 23, 2020

Wikimedia Commons

The Iowa Department of Public Health is teaming up with the 211 helpline to provide residents with accurate information about the coronavirus.

State and county public health and emergency management experts, through 211, will offer information on a variety of topics related to the coronavirus including symptoms, what to do if you think you have the virus and steps to take to prevent it from spreading. There will be recommendations from both the CDC and the Iowa Department of Public Health.

“I think everyone's looking for guidance,” Leslie Wright, senior vice president of community building at United Way of East Central Iowa, said in a KWWL article. “You know, what should I do? Now, some questions are 'can I be exposed by my pet?' It's good to ask those questions and get answers that are provided by the experts.”

Wright said the 211 resource center is prepared to deal with an influx of calls like they experienced during the 2008 flood.

“We know how to do that,” Wright said. “We know how to handle the surge, and it's certainly not a surge [right now].”

The 211 hotline already provides residents with information on a number of services such as rent and utility assistance, food pantries, health insurance programs, counseling, job training, childcare and aging and disability resource centers. Smartphone users have the ability to access the hotline through the 211 app.

There have been 68 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Iowa, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. Johnson County has the most with 27 confirmed cases.

Worldwide there have been more than 266,000 confirmed cases with more than 15,000 of those in the United States. The coronavirus has claimed the lives of more than 11,000 globally and more than 200 nationally.

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